President Jeff Docking shares insights from his book, Crisis in Higher Education: A Plan to Save Liberal Arts Colleges in America (Michigan State University Press, 2015), and how he implemented the Admissions Growth Model to transform the fortunes of Adrian College in Michigan. By focusing on building first-class extra and co-curricular programs that offer the +1 element to attract and retain students, he shows how Adrian has been able to grow from fewer than 900 students when he arrived, with a structural budget deficit and large deferred maintenance, to a thriving and revitalized campus of over 2,000 students that has been a vital driver of job and economic growth for the surrounding community. Today this includes 50 DIII and club sports teams – ranging from lacrosse and six ice hockey teams to bass fishing – along with a marching band, orchestra and other thriving clubs and student organizations. He also shares the genesis and growth of a second transformation to help improve the long-term prospects of liberal arts colleges – the Low-Cost Models Consortium.
David Finegold is the president of Chatham University.